Farnham Park to host largest-ever UK Little League Tournament on 14-15 June

Mon 9 Jun 2014

Little League Baseball LogoBSUK and the British Baseball Federation will host the UK's largest-ever Little League tournament at Farnham Park on the weekend of 14-15 June as teams in three age groups will battle for the right to represent the UK at European Little League Qualifiers this summer.

Games will be played in the Little League Majors (U13), Juniors (U15) and Seniors (U17) age groups, and the winner from each group will earn the right to travel to Little League's European headquarters in Kutno, Poland in July to contest the European Little League Qualifiers.  The ultimate prize is qualification for the Little League World Series in the United States later in the summer.

In addition to the three UK Little League Qualifying competitions, a tournament will also be held for teams in the Minors (U12) age group.

The action will run all weekend at Farnham Park, starting on the morning of Saturday 14 June and concluding on Sunday afternoon, and all members of the British baseball and softball communities are urged to come down and watch. 

TOURNAMENT INFO PACK

You can now download the Tournament Information Pack via the link below, which provides all the essential information for coaches, players, families and volunteers attending the UK Little League Qualifier.
[DOWNLOAD THE 2014 UK LITTLE LEAGUE QUALIFIER TOURNAMENT INFO PACK]


BACKGROUND

In 2013, the UK Little League Qualifier was contested between just two teams, the London Youth Baseball League and the London Mets Little League, and only at the Majors (U13) age level.

But following discussions during the off-season around the BSUK/BBF Joint Youth Baseball Review, it was decided to expand the format to include more teams and age groups.

While the focus of the Youth Baseball Review was for more localised play involving less travel, the Little League Qualifier represents one of two national focal points for youth baseball, the other being the Youth National Baseball Championships to be held in September.

The Little League Qualifier is unique in that it is an All-Star tournament, with local leagues able to select the best boys and girls from their teams to represent their community.  Selection is of course based on ability, but other considerations such as team spirit, work ethic and good sportsmanship are also strongly considered.

THE TEAMS

This year, with the expanded tournament format, it is expected that the following teams will participate:

Little League Majors (U13)

London MetsYouth NBC 2013
London Youth Baseball League
London Sports Baseball League

Little League Juniors (U15)

London Mets
London Youth Baseball League

Little League Seniors (U17)

North / Midlands All-Star Team
South All-Star Team

In addition to these qualifying tournaments, the Little League Minors (U12) tournament that will also be held that weekend will include teams from the following organisations:

Herts
Redbacks
London Youth Baseball League
Mets
London Sports


FUTURE DEVELOPMENT

BaseballSoftballUK National Development Manager Will Lintern said: “It is tremendously exciting to see that the tournament format has expanded this year and that many more teams are seeing local league play as the way forward to grow youth participation.  But this is just the tip of the iceberg.  We clearly have a lot more work to do to encourage and support both new and existing clubs to increase their player base to ensure that local league play becomes the lifeblood of our sport. 

“With programmes like Play Ball! now coming back,” Will continued, “and an invaluable partnership with Little League International, both BSUK and the BBF feel confident in our approach.  We will continue to support any club or league that wishes to get more boys and girls playing in their community and encourage other clubs that have yet to start youth programmes to request additional support where needed.  The future of youth participation looks bright – now we just need to execute the plan!”

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